Teens don’t believe they’ll be financially independent from parents by 30: Survey

Personal finance

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Got kids? Expect them to hang around long after they turn 18.

More than 30% of teens don’t believe they’ll be financially independent from their parents by age 30, according to a new survey from Junior Achievement and Citizens Bank.

The two groups polled 1,000 13- to 18-year-old teens online from March 1 through March 8.

The research offers a glimpse into Gen Z’s financial goals and concerns over the next decade.

When it comes to their top financial goals, 63% of respondents want to get a full-time job.

Higher education and financial independence were also top-goals, with 6 out of 10 teens saying they want to go to college.

It’s clear that more has to be done to help prepare students for the future — whether it is through helping them navigate paying for college or educating them on how to manage their money by establishing savings and checking accounts.

Brendan Coughlin

president of consumer deposits and lending at Citizens Bank

More than half said they no longer want to rely on their parents for funds.

“These survey findings show a disconcerting lack of confidence among teens when it comes to achieving financial goals,” said Jack Kosakowski, president and CEO of Junior Achievement, in a statement.

“With a strong economy, you would think teens would be more optimistic,” he said.

Ambitions aside, those teenagers are concerned about their futures.

Just under half of respondents are worried about paying for college. More than 4 out of 10 are concerned that they can’t afford to live on their own.

A tendency to help

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If you ask parents today about their kids’ financial independence, you likely will hear that they’re prone to helping.

A 2018 study by Merrill Lynch and Age Wave found 79% of parents gave to their 18- to 34-year-old children.

In fact, parents spend as much as $500 billion annually on their adult children, but manage to save only $250 billion annually toward their own retirement, the study found.

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More than 2,500 parents participated in the Merrill Lynch poll.

“It’s clear that more has to be done to help prepare students for the future — whether it is through helping them navigate paying for college or educating them on how to manage their money by establishing savings and checking accounts,” Brendan Coughlin, president of consumer deposits and lending at Citizens Bank, said in the Junior Achievement and Citizens Bank release.

Moving forward

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Parents should give financial advice based on three different life stages, Coughlin said.

In earlier days of childhood, parents should teach kids the value of money.

“Whether it’s through an allowance or a job, getting them a bank account, having them pay for small things on their own, said Coughlin.

When your kid is in high school, have the hard talk with your kids around their college selection.

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“That’s an incredibly challenging things to do because it’s so emotional,” Coughlin said. “Understand the return on investment on the school you’re choosing and what do you want to be when you grow up.”

If the average starting salary is low for graduating seniors, you may want to look into attending another college.

While in school, students who have the resources should start paying off the interest on their loans, if applicable, Coughlin said.

“You’re going to wind up with a much higher bill if you don’t,” he said. “At least pay interest, that’s going to give you a better chance for earlier financial independence.”

After graduation, have a sit-down with your child to discuss the realities of loan repayment and how it will fit in with other monthly expenses.

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